Aston Villa supporters want new players to get their club out of relegation trouble – but blood and sweat from his squad might just have to do the job for manager Paul Lambert instead.
The claret and blues have yet to sign anyone in January and as the clock ticks down towards the end of the transfer window at 11pm on Thursday it appears increasingly unlikely there will be a flurry of late signings.
In stark contrast Villa’s opponents this evening, Newcastle United, have spent heavily in the market and signed five players – all of whom are French – for a combined total of around £18m. It has prompted a section of Villa fans to question Randy Lerner’s commitment to the club and a vague statement from the club’s American owner might have clarified Lambert’s position but has done little to address concerns over new faces.
Lambert fielded a number of questions on the direction in which the club was headed, but remained accountable for the philosophy of a team built around young players which can get Villa away from trouble.
“I made the decision, the club needed to be rebuilt in some way, it’s a decision I made and it’s one I go with. It’s not stubborn I just know the remit of the of job. I’ve got to do what I believe is right,” said Lambert.
“I’ve got to rebuild, that’s what’s got to happen, I’ve got to strip it back. I don’t know exactly what the outlay is since Randy’s been here, putting all that money into the club.
“But you can’t spend something if it’s not there. I think he has got money, or his own wealth, entirely his own wealth. He’s not incapable (of spending it) or anything like that. He just told me that this is what we’re looking at long term.
“I think what’s happened is the club spent millions a couple of years back. It can’t do that, there’s absolutely no way it can do that.
“I read these things the other day about Newcastle bringing players in because the market in Britain is too high. But you still have to pay whatever it is in terms of salaries and signing-on fees etc.
“The difference is Newcastle can go and buy, and we can’t do it and that’s fine. You have to go with it. I’m the one stripping it right back so I can see it.
“We can’t see long term gain only short term pain.”
Hard graft from existing players will certainly be all that Lambert can call upon against Alan Pardew’s side this evening and the Villa boss admitted his players must go that extra yard to get the results they need.
“They have to prepared to be cut by an elbow, hurt by a clash of heads or something,” said Lambert.
“We’re in a fight. That’s one thing I know, we are in an absolute fight and we’re going to have to fight like hell for this, that’s for sure. I’m not going to come out and say the chairman must do x,y and z. I am not going to do it. I speak to him privately which I always do, I had a good chat with him when I was over there. I understand what he wants. It’s not right for me to say. after everything he has done for the club.”
With Newcastle having four potential debutants – Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haidara and Moussa Sissoko – at Villa Park tonight Lambert is optimistic his players can capitalise on any uncertainty in the opposition.
“Alan Pardew has brought a few in from France. You’ve just got to hope that will hurt them a bit in that no-one knows each other at the moment,” added the Villa boss.
Villa will be without midfielder Fabian Delph (ankle) but Nathan Baker should be fit to return after a hamstring problem.